Rural Images: Estate Maps in the Old and New Worlds by David Buisseret

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Rural Images: Estate Maps in the Old and New Worlds by David Buisseret

8vo. pp. xii, 184. b/w illustrations. bibliography. index. hardcover. dw. (fine condition). [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996].

ISBN-10: 0226079902 / ISBN-13: 9780226079905


Just when private property materialized as an important social institution, a new kind of map appeared—the estate map. Prepared for private owners rather than national powers, these maps have been a little-studied strain of cadastral mapping until now. Here a group of leading historians—Sarah Bendall, David Buisseret, P. D. A. Harvey, and B. W. Higman—follow the spread of estate maps from their origin in England around 1570 to colonial America, the British Caribbean, and early modern Europe.

Generously illustrated with reproductions of rare manuscripts, including 8 color plates, these accounts reveal how estate maps performed vital economic and cultural functions for property owners until the end of the nineteenth century. From plans of plantations in Jamaica and South Carolina to a map of Queens College, Cambridge, handsome examples show that estate maps formed an important part of the historical record of property ownership for both individuals and corporations, and helped owners manage their land and appraise its value. Exhibited in public places for pleasure and as symbols of wealth, they often displayed elaborate cartouches and elegant coats-of-arms.